03-19-2020 Search for high school principal continues at Watervliet Public Schools; Kute Kids

THESE KUTE KIDS ARE… the biggest little Indian fans! Two year old Drake and four year old sister Ava are busy cheering for their daddy’s team. These cuties are the kids of varsity girls coach Jamin Olds and wife Katy, both teachers at Hartford High School. When he’s not on the court Jamin teaches U.S. History while Katy heads up the Project Lead The Way STEM classes. In any case it’s doubtful this pair understands what a basketball standout Jamin was back in high school and college… to these two, he’s just Daddy

Search for high school principal continues at Watervliet Public Schools

By Annette Christie At the Monday, March 9 Watervliet School Board meeting, Superintendent Ric Seager told the board that the search for the high school principal continues. Seager said that the new posting for the position would go out the next day. The district had tried this in December, however, administrators wanted a different applicant pool and so they are taking another shot. Seager said it is the same posting as in December and same process, with them accepting applications for two weeks. “I feel we will have a good strong pool,” Seager said. He complimented Interim Principal Susan Toothman (the district’s Curriculum Director) who has been filling in since the beginning of the school year. “Susan has been spectacular, couldn’t have asked for a better person to fill in,” Seager said adding, “We did not get the candidate that we had hoped for, so hopefully we will now.”

PANTHER PRIDE AWARD… winner for the month of March was announced at the last Watervliet School Board meeting. The March award was given to Vicki Pletz, a member of North School Food Service for 34 years. She was acknowledged for going above and beyond for the little Panthers that she serves every year, including many theme lunches and keeping excitement in the children. Pletz was nominated by her daughter with support by some of her colleagues. The award was presented by Watervliet School Board (Bill Spaulding, Matt Clay, Eric Laws, Ted Tees, John Oliphant, Amanda Morlock-Fisher, Dr. Andy DeHaven) and Superintendent Ric Seager. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

Panther Pride Award The March Panther Pride Award was awarded to Vicki Pletz. She was nominated by her daughter and seconded by some of her colleagues. Some of the values reflected in her work, as mentioned by her nominators include compassion, focus on family and health lifestyles, treating everyone with respect, acting with integrity, courage and perseverance. She has provided the North School Food Service for 34 years. The Panther Pride Award was developed to recognize businesses, service groups, community members, parents, faculty, staff and students who have provided exemplary leadership and service. Strategic Plan update Seager updated the board on its strategic planning process. As the district moves into phase two of the process, a total of 23 people met as an external work group on Feb. 29 to discuss how to determine the mission and the values. The group included parents, students, community leaders, administrators, and board members. Seager said they had amazing dialogue and a lot of effort and energy was put into that. School Board President Bill Spaulding stated of the work group, “An empowered group walked away that day.”

WPS and COVID-19 Seager gave an update on how the district is preparing, should they have students or staff that get the coronavirus, identified as COVID-19. He said county-wide the superintendents got together the week of March 2 and are working in collaboration with Berrien County Health Department. Seager said it was important for the district to have a plan just in case. He assured the board that all of the classrooms in all of the buildings have alcohol-based hand sanitizers available. Staff is ready to deep clean the buildings if necessary. They will be communicating with all methods available to keep parents, students, and staff informed. Property tax collection To keep the non-homestead taxes on a 100% collection cycle, Seager told the board that they would need to pass a resolution stating as such. Prior to May of 2020 the district collected those taxes using a 50% summer and 50% winter collection cycle. However, in June of 2010 the Board of Education chose to change that to a 100% collection in the summer. This wa